Albert Heath was born in Clay Cross in January 1880 and was a photographer by trade residing on Thanet Street. He married Mary Alice (nee Osbourne) in 1907 and they had at least one child; George Albert who was born in July 1910.
Albert enlisted into the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Sherwood Foresters in March 1904 and re-enlisted into the 6th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment on the 1st April 1908. He attended all the Annual Campus between 1908 and 1914.
I have 8 Albert Heath original postcards, which appear to cluster into 3 distinct groupings based on the locations/dates and/or the style of backing.
Note: Although not dated, and there is no clue from the background where these two shots were taken, it is likely to have been at one of the early Camps 1908-1909 (or 1910?) because the men are wearing both the old Volunteer (cloth) and new Territorial (dress) shoulder badges (see below). Interestingly these also appear to be consecutive cards (#52 and #53).
The second card bears a 1913 stamp and both share the same background.
1914: The 46th North Midland Divisional Cycling Company
On November 1914 the 46th North Midland Cyclist Company was established and Commanded by Captain BH Winder. Albert transferred to this Company and accompanied them to France on the 28th February 1915.
Captain Basil Hawthorne Winder
In June 1915 Albert ‘contracted sugar diabetes’ which at the time was not deemed ‘the result of service doubful if aggravated”
Albert was discharged on ‘Termination of Engagement’ on the 15th April 1916 having served 8 years and 7 days with the Colours.
However, War service did not leave Albert unscathed and in June 1917 Mary applied for an increase in her husband’s war pension because he was an out patient in Derby Infirmary. In August 1917 this was granted because the medical board agreed that ‘this man’s condition may be regarded aggravated by Service since declaration of War’.
What I do know:-
- A postcard of the Empire Hotel, which was the HQ of the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters until they moved to Luton on 3rd Feb 1915.
- The postcard was posted from Epping on the 22nd Feb 1915.
- The 2/6th Sherwood’s were undergoing a course of entrenching in Epping from 8th to 24th Feb 1915.
Therefore the card mostly likely came from a man of the 2/6th Sherwood’s – agree ?
What I don’t know:-
- “Cecil House” is/was a old famous house on Wimbledon Common – but I can’t ID Lady Stanl(e)y
- The message suggests a reasonably well-off young lady – “several of my foals at Liverpool Street [station]”
- Any chance of an ID on Miss Thompson ?
Could there a link between Miss Thompson and an Officer of the 2/6th (or even other rank)?
But it’s not obvious to me at moment.
Unlikely to find an answer really, but I would like to know more about Cecil House and its occupants in 1914-15.
I’ve managed to acquire three year books for the 2nd Volunteer Battalion and the 6th Battalion from 1907, 1908 and 1909.
A fascinating source on information to share……
These year books belonged to George Holmes from Whaley Bridge, who enlisted into the 2nd Volunteer Battalion in February 1883 and was given the Regimental number 1315 and served with “H” Company.
George Holmes in 1909
April to December 1915
- The 6th Battalion left Southampton with the North Midland Division on the 25th February 1915.
- The Battalion held the front line trenches 21 times between March and December 1915; including 1 major battle (the attack on Hohenzollern Redoubt).
- Two Officer were killed during these 9 months; 2/Lt Henry Severne in May and 2/Lt Lewis Dickinson in September.
- At least 10 Officers were also wounded during this time.
- According to the War Diary 81 men were killed in the 9 months between March and December.
- This does not include the 12 missing after the mine explosion on the 30th September; which was the biggest single loss of life to date.
- The 1st man to be killed was 1470 Allen Redfern of Buxton who was shot by a sniper on the 10th March 1915 and is buried in Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery.
- The last man to be killed was 3065 Joseph Brown, a miner from Grassmoor, who was last seen bombing in the German trench as the raiding party retired and was reported as missing on the 26th November. His body was never recovered or identified after the war and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.
- The War Diary records that 323 men were wounded during these 9 months; research suggests that this number is in fact much higher. Indeed the 139th Brigade War Diary records the following Casualties:-